Who is liable for animals that bite?

Everyone knows that the owners of dogs that bite should be held liable for injuries caused by that bite.  However, most people do not know that other animals can cause injuries, and there are different laws (both statutory and created by the courts) that apply to certain animals in certain situations.

Wild Animals

The owner is strictly liable for injuries caused by wild animals (i.e., lions, tigers, and bears oh my), even if they are kept as pets.  Strict liability means that the defendant does not even have to be at fault to be held liable.

Trespassing Animals

The owner is strictly liable for the damages done by the trespass of his animals (other than household pets, such as dogs or cats) as long as it was reasonably foreseeable.  This situation usually occurs with livestock getting out of their pens.

Injuries by Straying Livestock

A showing of at least negligence is required to establish liability against the owner of livestock that strays into the public and causes an injury, such as livestock in a road that causes a car crash.

Personal Injuries from Domestic Animals, other than dogs

The owner of a domestic animal (other than dogs, and including farm animals) is not strictly liable for injuries it causes. However, if the owner has knowledge of that particular animal’s dangerous propensities, liability will attach. This rule applies even if the animal has never actually injured anyone before.

Personal Injuries from Dogs

Florida is different from a lot of other states in regards to the liability of dog owners. Florida dog bite law makes the owner of a dog liable for damages, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner’s prior knowledge of such viciousness. However, in the absence of negligence, the owner is not liable, except as to a person under the age of six, if at the time of any injury the person is not lawfully on the premises; or the owner had displayed in a prominent place on his premises an easily readable sign, including the words “Bad Dog.”

Injuries caused by animals are difficult to collect damages on because insurance companies routinely do not cover pets when they injure others. The LaBovick Law Group has an experienced team of attorneys that practice personal injury law, including dog bite cases. If you have been injured, call today for a free consultation.

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